“Politicians, not the courts, should decide on coal mine approvals”


But appearing for Ms Ley on Monday, Mr Donoghue said imposing a climate change obligation was “bottom of the politics” of legal issues and should be left to politicians rather than the court.

He said mining applications and “that they [coal mining] should be allowed to exist at all ”was“ really ”a question for the government.

“Strictly speaking, it’s a matter of elected politicians,” he said.

It follows a wave of climate change-related litigation hitting Australian and international courts, with experts blaming the increase in the number of cases on affected citizens turning to judges to force climate action where they perceive governments will not.

It also comes just six weeks after Minister Ley extended the life of a coking coal mine south of Sydney by five years despite the appeal over the existence of a duty of care to prevent damage. caused by climate change still unresolved.

The government also argued that it was not reasonably foreseeable that the damage suffered by children from climate change would be “materially” as a result of the mine’s approval.

He also said that federal environmental protection legislation was not “concerned with the protection of the environment in general” but rather focused on matters “of national environmental importance when the Commonwealth is judged. relevant “.

This could include the protection of individual species threatened by development, for example, but not “the health, well-being or survival of humans, or their habitats”.

Mr. Donoghue said these things were not “protected aspects of the environment” under federal law and as such “actions having significant impacts on these matters are not prohibited.” .

It would therefore be “inconsistent” to impose a duty of care to consider decisions affecting children’s rights in relation to decisions made under the Law on the Protection of the Environment and Biodiversity, he said. .

Ms Ley’s appeal against the landmark judgment will continue until Wednesday, with arguments still to come over the level of temperature rise in Australia.

She also filed submissions arguing that although Justice Bromberg concluded that “some” of the eight teens who filed the complaint would be at risk of harm from climate change, “those risks did not apply to the cohort. children in general ”.

The case has the potential to have far-reaching consequences for sectors beyond coal mining, as Justice Bromberg ruled that the duty of care applied to “carbon dioxide emissions in the world. ‘terrestrial atmosphere’.

Legal experts say this could see the requirement extend from mine approvals to decisions related to a range of high-carbon-emitting industries, such as manufacturing, transportation and other energy sources. .

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